Laws in Washington State aim to increase pay transparency
Since 2019, Washington State law has required many employers to be prepared to disclose a job’s minimum pay when they offer an applicant a job. Now, lawmakers have drafted changes that expanded the scope of the state’s pay transparency requirements. This will require employers to be more proactive in providing pay information. Starting on January 1, 2023, employers will need to state pay ranges in the posting for every open job.
The Washington law is not unlike pay transparency legislation that has been passed in other locations, such as New York City. However, the Washington pay transparency law differs from the NYC law in that it requires employers to name the benefits that go along with each position. These include healthcare and retirement benefits, time off, stock options, bonuses, relocation assistance, and profit sharing.
The legislation also clarifies which companies are subject to the law. It applies to companies with at least 15 employees, including out-of-state employers with one or more Washington-based employees. And it also covers companies posting remote jobs and internal job transfers.
As with pay transparency legislation in other states, the best way for companies to prepare for the new law in Washington is to clarify their pay scales internally. This means making sure they are consistent and driven by objective criteria. In addition, employers may want to ask themselves some questions about their benefits packages. For instance, are benefits distributed equitably within the organization? How does the company conceptualize benefits as part of its pay structure?
This kind of clarification is often tough work, but it will put the company in a position where it can give the required information to new job applicants. It will also help them have conversations with current employees who may have questions about their pay.
Next steps for employers with 15 or more employees
Employers should make sure to add the required information to existing job postings and job postings made at their direction by third parties.
Job postings should now include:
- Wage scale or salary range
- General description of all benefits
- General description of other compensation
The requirement applies to:
- Washington based employees and applicants
- Employers engaging in business in Washington
- Employees who have been offered an internal transfer or promotion
For examples and further information on the job posting requirement, here is a link to a job posting requirements factsheet from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.